Chapter 12, Section 1


Madison township was, of course, named after James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, whose public career is familiar to the people of this township and county.

The petition of inhabitants of Toby and Red Bank townships was presented to the court of quarter sessions of this county December 23, 1836, setting forth that the boundaries of these townships were so large as to render it extremely inconvenient for and burdensome on the township officers to properly discharge their respective duties, and praying for the appointment of viewers to lay out a new township, to be called Madison. The court appointed J. E. Meredith, William Templeton and John Sloan viewers, whose report in favor of erecting the proposed new township was confirmed by the court September 22, 1837. The original boundaries of this township were: Beginning at the mouth of the Mahoning creek on the Allegheny river; thence up the river to Joseph Robinson�s saltworks, a short distance above what is now Sarah Furnace Station, in Clarion county; thence 7 miles and 220 perches to the Toby and Red Bank township lines; thence south 47 east three miles to Red Bank Creek, at the mouth of Middle run, where the Olean road crosses; thence up Red Bank creek to the southern extremity of Big Bend; thence south 1 mile and 273 perches to the Mahoning creek, at the mouth of a run opposite Philip Anthony�s; and thence down this creek to its mouth. All that part of it north of the Red Bank creek is now in Clarion county, and a section of the eastern part of it is now in Mahoning township, in this county.

At the mouth of the Mahoning in the southwestern corner of this township was the terminus of the Indian path heretofore mentioned. Here, too, Captain Samuel Brady had one of his notable and successful fights with the Indians, near the middle of June, 1779. About the 10th of that month, three men whom Col. Brodhead had sent from Fort Pitt to reconnoiter the Seneca country returned, having been closely chased some distance below Kittanning, and nearly captured, by several Indian warriors who were descending the Allegheny in canoes. In a few days thereafter Captain Samuel Brady obtained with difficulty, on account of the envy excited in some of his fellow-officers by his previous brilliant successes, permission from the commandant of that fort to proceed with twenty men and a young Delaware chief toward the Seneca country, to catch the Indians. While he and his command were moving these Indian warriors advanced to the settlements. They killed a soldier between Forts Hand and Crawford, that is, between the mouths of the Loyal Hannon and Poketas creek, and at the Sewickley settlement they killed one woman and her four children and took two other children prisoners, their father being absent. Brady and his party � they were all well painted � crossed the Allegheny and advanced up its west side, carefully examining the mouths of all its principal, especially its eastern, tributaries, supposing that the Indians would descend it in their canoes. On reaching a point opposite the mouth of the Mahoning, they discovered the Indians� canoes moored at the southwestern bank of the creek. Brady and his force then went some distance down the river, halted until dark, made a raft, crossed over to the east side, advanced along it to the creek, found the canoes had been removed to the opposite side of the creek, vainly attempted to wade it, then moved up along its left bank and shore a considerable distance. Richard B. McCabe, who obtained his information from one of Brady�s brothers in 1832, says three or four miles, tradition says to the point where the Olean road crosses the creek, which is less than a mile from its mouth. After crossing the creek, wherever they did cross it, a fire was made, their clothes dried, and arms inspected. They then moved toward the Indian camp, which was pitched on what was then a second bank of the Allegheny, a short distance east of where the Allegheny Valley railroad track now is. Brady posted his men on the first bank, which has since been worn away. A stallion, which had been stolen from the whites at Sewickley, was fettered on the last-mentioned bank and seemed to enjoy the company of the whites, to which one of the Indians, probably his captor and quasi-owner, occasionally went, so that the former were obliged to be very cautious and watchful lest their presence should become known to their foes. To avoid this the utmost silence was necessary. Brady was inclined to tomahawk that Indian, but discreetly forbore. He, however, ventured near the fires after all was again quiet. The Delaware chief, not even daring to whisper, having endeavored in vain to restrain him by plucking his hair, crawled away. While Brady was thus examining the number and position of the Indians, one of them threw off his blanket and arose. As Brady could not make the slightest movement without being discovered, he remained as quiet as possible, but drew his forehead to the earth to avoid discovery. "His next sensation was that of warm water poured into the hollow of his neck, as from the spout of a teapot, which, trickling down his back over the chilled skin, produced a feeling that even his iron nerves could scarce master. He felt quietly for his tomahawk, and had it been about him he would probably have used it, but he had divested himself even of that when preparing to approach the fires, lest striking against the stones or gravel it might give alarm."1 So he was compelled to submit to that great humiliation until his humiliator again slept. He then quietly posted his men. At the dawn of day the Indians arose. While standing around their fries, seven rifles at a given signal were discharged and five of those Indians fell dead. The other two fled. One of them was traced by the blood from his wound, which he had stanched. The Delaware chief, who was Brady�s pet, imitated the cry of a young wolf, which being answered, he was again pursued, and on another answer of the wolf-cry the pursuit was continued into a windfall, where, probably having observed his pursuers, he ceased to answer and they cease to pursue. Tradition says he concealed himself in a dense thicket on the hill, where he died. McCabe says that Brady, three weeks afterward, discovered his remains, being led to the place by ravens that were preying upon his carcass.

Col. Brodhead, in his letter to President Reed, June 24, and to Gen. Washington, June 25, 1779, gave this account of that fight: Capt. Brady fell in with seven Indians of this party � that had committed the depredations at Sewickley � about fifteen miles above Kittanning, i. e., from where Fort Armstrong was situated, where the Indians had chosen an advantageous situation for their camp. He, however, surrounded them, and attacked at break of day. Thus in his letter to Reed, but in that to Washington he states: He surrounded them as well as the situation would admit, and finding he was discovered by break of day, he attacked them. To Reed: The Indian captain, a notorious warrior of the Muncy nation, was killed on the spot, and several more mortally wounded, but the woods were remarkably thick, and the party could not pursue the villains� tracks after they had stopped their wounds, which they always do as soon as possible after receiving them. To Washington: And killed the captain, who was a notorious warrior of the Muncy nation, and mortally wounded most of them; but they being encamped near a remarkable thicket, and having, as customary with them, stopped their wounds just after they received them, they could not be found. To Reed: Capt. Brady, however, retook six horses, two prisoners, the scalps, all their plunder, and took all the Indians� guns, tomahawks, match-coats, moccasins � in fine, everything they had, except their breech-clouts. To Washington: Capt. Brady retook six horses, the two prisoners and all the plunder, which was considerable, and took six guns and everything else except, etc. To Reed: Capt. Brady has great merit, but none has more distinguished merit in this enterprise than the young Delaware chief, whose name is Nanowland, or George Wilson. To Washington: Capt. Brady and most of his men acted with great spirit and intrepidity, but it is confessed that the young Delaware chief Nanowland, or George Wilson, distinguished himself in this enterprise.

That camp-ground was in the northwestern corner of the tract subsequently called "Springfield,"2 several rods east of what was still more recently the old steamboat wharf. The thicket into which the wounded escaped was on the hill still higher up the creek than the camp.

The two prisoners that were here recaptured were Peter and Margaret Henry, children of Frederick Henry, referred to in a footnote, page 505, Vol. VII, Pennsylvania Archives, where it is stated that Lyman C. Draper had obtained statements from them. He intended to do so, but, as he informed the writer, did not. They had been captives about two weeks before they were recaptured. Peter settled in Butler county, Pennsylvania, and was a member of Capt. Brinker�s company in the war of 1812. He was a farmer, raised a large family, and was highly respected. He died in his ninety-fourth year in 1858. Peter Henry, Jr., of Brady�s Bend, father-in-law of Andrew W. Bell, is one of his sons. Margaret married and lived in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. An erroneous idea prevails among some of these captives� descendants that they were recaptured at Brady�s Bend.

Col. Brodhead left Fort Pitt on his expedition against the Seneca and Muncy nations on the upper Allegheny, August 11, 1779. His report of it to Gen. Washington is dated at Pittsburgh, September 16, two days after his return, in which he says he left that point with 605 rank and file, including militia and volunteers, and one month�s provisions, which except for the live cattle, was transported by water under the escort of 100 men to a place called Mahoning, about fifteen miles above Fort Armstrong, where, after four days� detention and the straying of some cattle, the stores were loaded on packhorses, and the troops proceeded on the march for Conawago on the path leading to Cushcushing, that is, the place of that name on the upper Allegheny. Respecting the route of the main force to the mouth of the Mahoning, William M. Darlington, in a letter to the writer of this sketch, says: "In the absence of positive evidence I think there can be little doubt that the route taken by Gen. Brodhead�s forces was by Kittanning path from near Fort Pitt to the shore of the river opposite Kittanning. There was no path or road on the east side of the Allegheny then, nor is there one now, except the Valley railway." From Kittanning to this point it was, he thinks, along the left bank of the river. That was a very important and successful expedition, although Brodhead�s force did not, as contemplated, form a junction with the larger forces under Gens. Sullivan and Clinton from the east. In his above-mentioned report, and in his letter to Sullivan, October 10, he states what he has done, the substance of which is: He marched to the upper town on the river called Yahrungwago, meeting no opposition, after killing six or seven and wounding a number of forty warriors that were advancing against the settlements, which occupied the advanced guard but a few minutes, without any loss on his side, except that three men were slightly wounded; destroyed 165 cabins, most of which were new and each one large enough for the accommodation of three or four Indian families, and about 500 acres of corn and vegetables, the plunder taken amounting to $30,000, which he directed to be sold for the benefit of the troops. To Washington: "On my return I preferred the Venango road, the old towns of Conawago, Buchloons and Mahusqueechikoken, about twenty miles above Venango, on French creek, consisting of thirty-five large houses, were burnt" � meaning, the writer thinks, the Venango was on French creek, and these towns twenty miles above it, not on French creek, but on the Allegheny river, where they were situated according the ancient maps. The "Venango road" on the historical map of Pennsylvania extends from Venango, or Franklin, southeasterly to the Kittanning path, which it intersects in the northern part of what is now Indiana county. This is the only "Venango road" on that map, or any other which the writer has examined. It therefore seems that he preferred to return by this route instead of the one via Meadville and Slippery Rock, or any other west of the Allegheny river, at least to Kittanning, where he perhaps, recrossed the Allegheny and thence followed the Kittanning path to Fort Pitt. The fact is Buchloons, Conawago, Mahusqueechikoken and Venango are the only places which he mentions as being in his route on his return. To Washington: "Too much praise cannot be given to both officers of every corps during the whole expedition. Their perseverance and zeal during the whole march through a country too inaccessible to be described can scarcely be equaled in history. Notwithstanding many of them returned barefooted and naked, they disdained to complain, and to my great mortification I have neither shoes, shirts, blankets, hats, stockings, nor legging to relieve their necessities. * * * It is remarkable that neither man nor beast has fallen into the enemies� hands on this expedition, and I have a happy presage that the counties of Westmoreland, Bedford and Northumberland, if not the whole western territories, will experience the good effect of it." To Sullivan: "I congratulate you on your success against the Indians and the more savage tories, and am quite happy in the reflection that our efforts promise a lasting tranquillity to the frontiers we have covered." To Rev. John Heckewelder, April 14, 1780: "The stroke up the Allegheny last fall has answered my expectations, and I believe the confederate nations are brought to their senses, they having already solicited peace with congress."

An early, perhaps the earliest, white settler on that portion of "Springfield," in this township, was Samuel Adams, who was first assessed with twenty acres of it and as a blacksmith, in 1824, in Red Bank township, in which the northeastern portion of it then was; in 1828 with 394 acres; in 1831 with 300 acres and one cow at $42.50, with which he continued to be assessed until he removed, in 1834, to near the Great Bend in the Red Bank creek.3 The northwestern part of "Springfield," where Brady�s fight with the Indians occurred, was occupied for a store and warehouse and steamboat wharf in 1848. A hotel was built in 1849, which, with the warehouse, was burned in 1852, on site of which the present large two-story frame structure was soon erected. It was for several years a dining place for stage-passengers from Kittanning to Brookville and Clarion. The large quantity of freight landed here before the railroad was completed and the large number of lumbermen stopping here in the rafting seasons made this old battlefield for years a busy mart.

Source: Page(s) 259-285, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
Transcribed December 1998 by Jeffrey Bish for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Jeffrey Bish for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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